The Kenneth White Jr. High MetalHawks-Alpha, FTC 13521, and MetalHawks-Bravo, FTC 13522, robotics teams competed, on Saturday, February 3, 2018, in the First Tech Challenge (FTC) Edison and Curie Metro League Championships, respectively. The MetalHawks-Alpha team was part of the alliance team that won the championship in the Edison League, the team also placed 2nd overall in their division. Additionally, the MetalHawks-Bravo team was also part of the winning alliance team in the Curie League championship. MetalHawks-Bravo team placed 1st in their division, awarding them the title of “Captain” of the winning alliance. Both teams will be advancing to compete at the FTC Regional/State Championship meet on February 16th and 17th, in Austin, TX.
In the FIRST Tech Challenge, students from 7th to 12th grade, work in teams to design, build, program, and operate a robot that can complete a given task in less than 2 1/2 minutes. The teams match off in an alliance format, to see which robots can better complete the objectives and earn the most points for its alliance. In the Championship Tournament held last Saturday, teams had to complete five matches, within their division, and place amongst the top four spots to advance to the semi-finals round. Then, from this point, the top two alliances moved on to the championship round.
Teams then had to be part of the winning alliance to obtain the opportunity to represent the Rio Grande Valley in the Regional/State Competition in Austin. In the league championship semi-finals and finals, the MetalHawks turned to neighboring high schools to form an alliance with MetalHawks-Alpha forming an alliance with Veterans Memorial High School’s Patriot Engineering robotics team, FTC 12447, and MetalHawks-Bravo allying with Mission High School’s Event Horizon robotics team, FTC 13511.
In addition to their Winning Alliance recognitions, the MetalHawks-Alpha team was also awarded the Think Award which is presented to teams that best documented the journey they took as they worked through the engineering process as they built their robot. This journey must have been documented well in the team’s Engineering Notebook with the inclusion of detailed descriptions of the rationales for their robot design and game strategy, as well as evident reflection of their designs, successes, and any opportunities for improvement.
Furthermore, the MetalHawks-Alpha team was also the 2nd Finalist for the FTC Inspire Award. The Inspire Award is the most prestigious award a team can receive as it is only awarded to teams the FTC considers as a team “that embodied the ‘challenge’ of the FIRST Tech Challenge program. The team that receives this award is a strong ambassador for FIRST programs and a role model FIRST Team.” They further describe the award recipient as a “top contender for many other judged awards and is a gracious competitor. The Inspire Award winner is an inspiration to other teams, acting with gracious professionalism both on and off the playing field. The team shares their experiences, enthusiasm, and knowledge with other teams, sponsors, their community and the judges.”